A worthy veteran of the Civil War, who bore more than an average part in that great conflict is Michael O'Brien, for many years an upbuilder of the orchard interest of the Santa Cruz Mountain region.  He was born in Utica, N. Y. , April 14, 1840, a son of Patrick and Margaret (Griffin) O'Brien, farmers in that splendid section of the Empire State, where Michael assisted on the home place as he grew up to habits of industry and economy, wheel he received a good education in the local public schools.  Stirred with patriotism he volunteered his services to his country in the spring of 1862, enlisting in Company E. Fourteenth New York Volunteer Infantry, a second-year regiment; but he was held in service for three years, being first transferred to Company B, Forty-fourth New York Volunteer Infantry (the Ellsworth Avengers) until that regiment was discharged, when he was transferred to Company D, Second New York Heavy Artillery.  During his service he was in thirty-two general engagements besides numerous skirmishes.  AMong others he was in the Seven Day Battle, Malvern Hill, Gains Mill, Chancellorsvine, Fredericksburg, Antietam,  South Mountain, Gettysburg, where he was slightly wounded in the right leg; Mine Rim, Petersburg, where, on June 17, 1863, he was taken prisoner and sent to Andersonville and imprisoned in that horrible place for six months and three days.  During this time, with sixty others, he tunneled out and they made their escape, separating and going in pairs; by traveling nights and hiding daytime he made his way within twelve   miles of Charleston, where he and his partner were captured and returned to Andersonville, and there he had the scurvy very bad.  Both armies had arranged for an exchange of 10,000 prisoners.  They were formed into squads of ninety and each squad went inside of the dead line to be examined by a doctor, the worst cases being allowed to go.  He was not passed as the doctor said he could stand it another month, but his partner was passed. Mr. O'Brien watched until he saw the guard's back turned, then jumped across the line into the ranks of his squad, thus he was paroled with the others, but he took a desperate chance of being shot to save his life, for he would have died had he remained in prison much longer.  They went to Annapolic Camp, where he rejoined his command to hlep to take Richmond,  He was present at the surrender of genearl Lee at Appomattox, after which he marched to Washington and took part in the Grand Review.  He was mustered out and honorably discharged at Alexandria, Va., in May, 1865.  Returning to his home, he spent some time on the Erie Canal, steering a canal boat, and became very familiar with that region.  In 1867 he took the steamer San Francisco and Crossed to the Pacific side via the Nicaragua route, from where he came on the old boat from New York to San Francisco.  For a time he was engaged in trucking, and then came to Santa Clara  County and took a homestead of 160 acres at Wrights, built a cabin and by grubbing and clearing improved the place so he had a good farm later setting out an orchard and vineyard.  He farmed it for thirty-three years and then sold it to his brother, Thmoas, who has since died.  He then bought another ten acre ranch near Wrights, devoted to orchard and vineyard, but sold it in 1920.  He lived at Wrights until March, 1922, when he located at Los Gatos.  He is a membder of the E. O. C. Ord. Post.

transcribed by C feroben from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page  1337